DAVIDSON, N.C., May 1, 2011 – The High Point University women?s lacrosse team won the National Lacrosse Conference Championship in the team?s inaugural season with a 13-12 overtime victory over No. 1-seed Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon in Davidson, N.C. Freshman Christie Dougherty (Rocky Point, N.Y./Rocky Point) scored three goals in the game, including the game-winner.
Dougherty scored the game-winning goal with 3.2 seconds left in the first half of overtime and the second 3:00 of overtime went scoreless. Freshman Sara Kuhlman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) led HPU with four goals on the day and goalie Lauren Hayes (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown (Connecticut)) made a career-high 14 saves.
?The whole team is so excited to bring a conference championship to High Point University in our first season,? said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. ?I?m really happy that our girls were able to win the title after the way they executed all weekend. Our goal was to get to this game and, once we got here, to win it. Things went our way for the most part. Our defense stepped up. Our attackers were smart with the ball and we kept possession. It went back and forth a little bit and we?re just thankful we came out on top.?
HPU’s Dougherty, Hayes, Grace Gaeng (Bel Air, Md./The John Carroll School (Maryland)) and Alexis Goldman (Winter Springs, Fla./Winter Springs (St. Andrews Presbyterian)) were named to the NLC All-Tournament team.
?Our four people on the All-Tournament team more than deserved it,? said Boswell. ?Lauren Hayes played great all weekend and made huge saves at the end of the game today. Grace was good as always. She?s our leader. Christie Dougherty and Alexis Goldman played great all weekend.?
With time winding down in the first half of overtime, the Panthers had the ball and passed it around in the offensive zone. Dougherty saw an opening from the right side and went in for the game-winner.
In the second half of overtime, Hayes made two clutch saves on shots by Jacksonville?s Kaitlin Stewart to preserve the victory for the Panthers. The final one came on a free-position shot with 22 seconds on the clock and the Panthers were able to clear it away for the win. High Point?s defense allowed just two Jacksonville goals through the final 26 minutes of the game.
Jacksonville opened the game by taking a 4-1 edge and led 8-6 at halftime. After Jacksonville?s Morgan Derner scored 1:32 into the second half, the Panthers scored four straight to take their first lead of the game. Kuhlman scored her fourth goal of the game on a free-position shot, taking two steps before firing a hard shot into the top of the net.
Gaeng netted her only goal of the game 5:04 into the second half in one of her few opportunities with space. She received a pass from Dougherty and scored. Junior Heather Ziccarelli (Rochester, N.Y./Rush Henrietta (Monroe CC)) tied the game at 10-10 shortly after the next draw when she got the ball with nobody in front of her and took it all the way in. Dougherty gave HPU its first lead of the game when she shot the ball through traffic with 21:21 left on the clock.
The teams traded goals in the middle 10 minutes of the second half before Goldman got the Panthers a 12-11 lead with 8:29 left. She scored on a low free-position shot and the Panthers held that lead until the final minutes. Hayes had made several free-position saves but couldn?t stop one from Jacksonville?s Ali Hoffman with 1:24 left that knotted the game at 12-12. The Dolphins appeared to win the game in the final second of regulation on a free-position shot, but the goal was waived off sending the game to overtime.
Along with her four goals, Kuhlman had two ground balls and two draw controls in the game. Dougherty posted career highs on consecutive days with two goals and an assist against Longwood Saturday and three goals and an assist on Sunday. She also had three draw controls in the championship game. Defender Kelsey Kirby (Marriottsville, Md./Liberty High School) had four ground balls and two caused turnovers for the Panthers.
Jacksonville was led by Derner?s four-goal effort while Jen Cosgrove and Hoffman each scored twice. Goalie Karli Tobin made nine saves.
High Point improved to 15-3 in its first season while Jacksonville finished its season at 14-5.
The Panthers have one game left on the 2011 schedule ? a matchup with No. 3 North Carolina on Friday, May 6, in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Tar Heels are 12-5 on the season.